Influence of Organisational Culture on Group performance for ABC Ltd.

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Organizational culture is an idea which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values of an organization. It has been defined as "the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization."[1]

Marion Hampton summarized the practical aspect of groups: "Groups embody cultural values, teamwork, co-operation, a collective that is greater than the sum of its parts."

The groups form a linkage between organization and the individual to accomplish certain goals. Thus there exists a need to determine the member's satisfaction and hence good performance.

The above two terms form inseparable parts of Organisational Behaviour literature and are to be analysed to understand the reasons and solutions to the problem summarised below. The issue though will be discussed in context to a particular organisation, can be broadly extended to all forms of cultural, social, organisational groups.

In order to establish the foundation of the discussion, an exercise was undertaken to identify the existing cultural factors which acted as enablers or constraints to this group's performance. A further GAP analyses was performed based on the questionnaire responses to establish what were the individual's perception towards their workgroups.

Evidencing the existing Organisational culture:

Evidencing the desired Organisational attributes:

Organisational Context

Referring to general model of Group behaviour, the above findings could be discussed further:

Source: Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Dec., 1984), pp 502

As can be inferred from the above, effective group performance is an output of Organisation culture and the leadership. Study suggests, reward, recognition in terms of pay hike had the largest influence on the set up of the group and the motivation levels of the individuals. [2]

Examining the relationship between culture and performance [3], cultural strength, agreement between individuals on company values, adaptability, stability are the key factors to bring group's and organisation's values on to a common ground. The retention rate was predicted to be high both for high and low performers where interpersonal values were emphasised more than the work task values in an organisation. Also the performance was highly dependent upon the organization's flexibility, stability and adaptability to new routines.

Every individual as a part of group undergoes various stages of Organisational socialisation [4] process: - Anticipatory socialisation, Encounter and Change and Acquisition stage to imbibe within him the cultural values, norms and skills for the task completion. The outcomes could be Custodial orientation, total conformity to norms; Creative individualism, core assumptions are acquired; or rebellion where all assumptions are rejected.

As can be inferred from the outcomes of the GAP analysis, the organisation in question had a culture lacking performance recognition, growth opportunities, group culture, competence based leadership, with an addition of high performance expectations and long working hours for the employees. The problem could be understood upon the lack of the important factors (highlighted in blue), which are essential for a group's conformity with organisational values. Employees also perceive the lack of transparent remuneration system, fairness and process oriented approach within the organisation.

The effects of organisational values over the individual or group generally can be grouped into three different categories: Development values (related to concepts/ideas about creating something new e.g. concepts, ideas), Ethical values (ones which are believed to be adhered to socially) and Control values (dealing with ideas about control). The prioritisation of these values effect decision making to achieve objectives. Ethical values of a group promote the intergroup communication of ideas. The dialogue between group's and organisation's Control and Development values influence the team's potential to achieve the directed objectives. [5]

In accordance with the above research a result, the organisation does not pose a cultural congruence with perceived believes of the group. The Control values of efficient leadership, planning and stability conflict with the Development values of the group for monetary, professional, career growth.

The discussion clearly identifies flaws in the organisational culture. The desirable attributes of the workforce needs to conform to the prevalent values. The same can be analysed from the group perspective as well.

The GAP identifies that employees find the Employment security, Stability and praise for the performance as the satisfactory enablers to boost group performance. This surfaces the fact that there may be other factors apart from organisational culture that may be present within the group itself.

Obtaining reference from the workgroup questionnaire (refer appendix), majority of employees mention that they feel loyal to their workgroup but the workgroup does not inspires the very best performance out of them. Also, consistently all the individuals have rated the group leadership experience as negative , the agreement between the individuals' with the group policies and matter related to the employees has been rated low and the alignment of theirs and groups values as moderate, they still are not willing to quit the job instantly. This may generally imply that the group is not happy with the local leadership and inter/ intra group values but is comfortable with the other group members. The employees may still be valuing the job security and stability as criteria to continue with the same job.

The Sundstrom's model [6] provides an Ecological framework to analyse team effectiveness in organisational context.

Performance, viability are the two dimensions of team effectiveness. These dimensions could be augmented by recognition, autonomy and the culture. The boundaries differentiate work units from others by defining how group needs to operate. Reciprocal interdependencies are present for the adjacent interfaces e.g. team effectiveness is dependent on the boundaries.

Thus, the above model establishes the importance of the culture on the performance of a team.

Inter/Intra Group Context

The Intragroup processes build up the interpersonal behaviour by Conflict management, Motivating and confidence building and the Emotion management. The motivating factors include expressing encouragement, support and giving of the positive feedback, whereas the emotion management acts to relieve stress and boost morale. Likewise, the Intergroup processes affect the transition behaviour by Strategy formulation, Goal specification and the Mission analysis. These processes are required to assign goals and create action plans by interpreting the existing organisational requirements. These processes are more often led by the team leader who creates an environment of understanding within the members.

A look at group dynamics brings up an ineffective group leader as weak link between Organisation and the group members. Mick Yates's 4E's Framework [7] mentions Leadership as understanding people and getting them pointing and acting in same direction by making a "connect" with others. He envisages this as 4E's: Envision, Enable, Empower, and Energize. The group leader needs to start with recognising the member's concerns and aspiration. From the organisation's perspective, perspective the value system of the Enterprise when in synchronization with its constituents motivates the workforce to showcase their best performance in line with organisation's objectives. This argument still empowers the group leader's role to bring member's aspirations in line with the enterprise values and vice-a- versa.

The Envision stage merges the Organisation's values/culture with the individual's Strategies and choices thus building up mutual goals. The leader then "Enables" the objectives by implementing the required processed using tools. Once a clear vision, strategy is set, the leader shares the mutual accountability of success and failure with the followers and "Empowers" by feedback and motivation mechanism. The final stage, "Energize", generates energy within the group by aligning organisation's and individual's success in the same "Operational Axis". The framework when applied the problem in discussion, proves the failure of the group's leader at the first step itself. He is unable to assimilate positive energy to motivate his group performance.

The leadership style should also be analysed to understand Autocratic, Democratic or Laissez-faire style of leadership. [8]

The Democratic leadership style is most favoured to achieve a self motivated workgroup.

As researched by the famous psychologist, Rensis Likert [9], workgroups are important sources of individual's satisfaction and the groups in the organisation which fulfil this psychological function are more productive. Hence, it is management's task to create effective groups by developing 'supportive relationships'. Thus, arguing that the organisational design is actually made up of groups rather individuals sharing common values.

Building upon the problem and workgroup questionnaire analysis, the members hold a conflicting view with the group's values. As per the commonly held assumption, group leads to a performance which is better than the summation of individual potentials. Contradicting this definition, we find deterioration the group's performance as the highly capable intellects are unable to make the group a success. Pinning the intra group dynamics, the issues could be analysed on the basis of group development theory by Tuckman and Jensen.

The various stages mentioned above depict the life cycle for the formation of an effective group. The Forming stage is an immature stage where individuals seek orientation as to what are the issues, tasks are. The Storming is a fractional stage where individuals realise the expectations from them. The Norming is a cohesion stage where individuals realise other's expectations from them, this lays the foundation of sense of 'groupiness'. Performing is the stage where a group works and realises tasks as an effective team, the performance is high and so is the commitment. Relating it to the discussion case, the members seem to have a sense of cohesiveness but the performing stage has not been fully realised. The underlying reason could be from the first stage itself which may result from incompetent leadership, unclear objectives or maybe incorrect member selection. The efficiency may be impaired as inefficient leadership may cause the members pulling the virtues in different directions, members might be using the group to achieve their 'hidden' objectives.

The team composition and team role also needs to be monitored for this organisation to understand the pattern and structure of the group. Within a group certain members show a consistent preference for certain behaviour which if properly harnessed could be oriented towards achieving a task.

Since, the team members of the particular group in question are not performance oriented, it maybe a result of improper team composition which lacks proper synergy. These roles could be discussed using Belbin's framework. [10]

Belbin states that in an ideal team, all the necessary roles are represented where a member may play single or multiple roles. Proper selection of team members is a way to improve overall effectiveness.

Individual Context

Having discussed the mentioned problem in organisational and group context, we now analyse the individual aspect of the underlying issue. The organisation is sub categorised in groups which in turn constitute of the individual group members.

These characteristics can be studied under Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which focuses on individual's needs and motives. [11]The framework divides these needs into Physiological, Safety, Love, Esteem and Self- Actualisation. For the problem in discussion, the individual group member would be motivated to perform as a part of group and deliver his best performance when these mentioned needs are satisfactorily met.

Belonging is the stage when the person starts to perceive himself as the part of the workgroup. He gains self esteem and seeks the same from the surroundings. Maslow emphasizes on the need for status, respect, recognition, prestige and attention, and also self respect, the need of self-confidence, mastery, independence and freedom. The final stage of self-actualization is when the individual would realize his full potential and would try to achieve ideal performance expected out of him.

The reciprocal determination of behaviour by Bandura [12] states that a person's behaviour arises from the interplay of person and of situation, which in this situation imply that to influence behavior the person, situation or the interaction may be targeted. Implying it to the given problem, the behavior of each group member may be brought in line with the organizational goals after a thorough analysis of the situation and person interaction.


The aim of this discussion was to analyse and provide solutions to the performance issue faced by the organisation in question. The various key points, conclusions and suggestions could be summarised as follows:

The perceived positive attributes lacking within the organisation culture are:

Strong and competent leadership

Professional growth opportunities


Performance appreciation and recognition in terms of monetary compensation

Transparent remuneration system

Team oriented attitude

The attributes present within the culture which contribute negatively to individual/team motivation:

Though the employees lack motivation because of lack of recognition, still the organisation expects high performance level out of them. This in turn would further add to the frustration of the employees.

The working hours are long and tiring.

The employee satisfaction is high for the organisations where interpersonal values are emphasised more upon. Also, stability, adaptability and flexibility are the values which need to be entrusted upon in the present company culture.

The organisation's cultural values are not being absorbed by the employees thus not leading to custodial form of organisational socialisation, hence affecting the motivation levels.

The control values of leadership are not in congruence with the development values of the employees.

Discussion surfaces the weak leadership unable to deal with the Emotion management of the team causing a lack of synergy and proper goal orientation.

It seems that the leadership style is "Laissez-faire" as the performance is generally low even in the presence of the leader and may increase in his absence. The staff is not a self performing and the group atmosphere is perceivably friendly, but the group as a whole dislikes the leader.

Improper team composition may be one of the important factors for consideration. It seems that team lacks the roles of co-ordinator, implementer and the team worker.

The individual motivation needs to be stressed upon in addition to the group's, so as to let the employee realise the stage of self- actualisation and rise as a self motivated, performing and strong link within the group.

Various management practices, tools could be used to improve the situation at the group and the organisation level. Some of the suggestive measures would include Pareto analysis [13] technique for problem solving which stresses upon causal analysis of the situation. This technique helps to identify the top 20% of causes that needs to be addressed to resolve the 80% of the problems. The higher management may identify and analyse the underpinning factors and issues, already brought up in the above discussion, and may implement various measures to ensure highly performing, self motivated workforce. This would reduce the attrition rate and would ensure easy employee retention within the organisation. The positive experience and satisfaction rate being high facilitates the congruency between the individual and the enterprise goals. The methodology analysed in this paper would lend to being used to bring into action the change management initiatives having a cultural component.


Appendix A:-

Assignment Evidence approach:

Questionnaire- Current attributes

The employees currently/past employed by the organisation were requested to complete a questionnaire which would identify seven most/least perceived cultural and value statements of the organisation which are important to individual's self identity.

Questionnaire - Desired attributes

The employees mentioned the five most desirable attributes to be included in the future culture. This was used to formulate the discussion regarding the Gap between existing and desired cultural characteristics.

Group behaviour

Participants rated their attitude towards the workgroups as a result of these imbibed values.

GAP analysis- Contextual establishment

The exercise recognised the most perceived cultural attributes that are constraints or enablers to that participants' group performance.

The weights 1-2-4-5-4-2-1 were to be assigned in order of importance, 1 being most significant like/dislike.

Existing frameworks

The theories and frameworks present within the organisational behaviour literature were identified and used to discuss the existing group behaviour due to prevalent organisational values.

Appendix B:-

Set of value statements to be chosen from, as given to the participants:

(The same set of values was used as perceived future enablers/constraints)

high pay for good performance



emphasis on quality

confronting conflict directly

enthusiasm for the job

results oriented


emphasize a single culture throughout the organisation

achievement orientation

quick to take advantage of opportunities


security of employment

take individual responsibility

a clear guiding philosophy

risk taking

sharing information


paying attention to detail



taking initiative

being aggressive



being team oriented


professional growth opportunities

people oriented

having a good reputation

offers praise for good performance

high expectations performance expectations


not constrained by rules

working in collaboration with others

willingness to experiment

working long hours


encourage a group culture

Appendix C:-

The attitude towards the workgroup questionnaire:

Choose from 1-5 based upon the extent to agree with the following:

Appendix D:-